Sidewalk FAQ

Property owners in Oakland are responsible for repairing damaged sidewalks adjacent to their property per state and local laws. Sidewalk Permits from the City are required for sidewalk repairs larger than 25 square feet. A licensed contractor should perform all other repairs.

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Sidewalk Repair Info and FAQ
Date Posted: August 31st, 2018 @ 3:44 PM
Last Updated: May 28th, 2021 @ 10:44 AM

DOT Engineering permit counter is currently closed to the public. Customers can continue to access DOT permit services by email at DOTonlinepermits@oaklandca.gov and by phone at 510-238-3199.

Repair Information

Sidewalks are where Oaklanders get exercise, walk to daily needs, wait for the bus, and talk with neighbors. They are one of the most important pieces of Oakland’s transportation network, and it’s essential that they’re kept well-maintained and accessible for everyone. Damaged sidewalks create trip hazards for your neighbors and visitors, and are a liability for property owners. Safer sidewalks benefit all pedestrians.

The City of Oakland has approximately 1,100 miles of sidewalks – the distance from Oakland to El Paso, Texas! Most of our sidewalks are in satisfactory condition, but there’s still work to be done to address damaged sidewalks.

Property owners in Oakland are responsible for repairing damaged sidewalks adjacent to their property. In some limited instances, the damage may be caused by a tree that has been recorded by the City as an official City tree. In these instances, the City is responsible for repairing the damage.

If the sidewalk is damaged on your property, you may receive a Notice to Repair issued by the City. If you receive this letter, you must repair the sidewalk within 30 days.

Sidewalk Permits from the City are required for sidewalk repairs larger than 25 square feet. A licensed contractor should perform all other repairs. Permits can be obtained at 250 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Suite 4344, Oakland, CA 94612 or online at www.oaklandca.gov/topics/engineering-services.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. What is a sidewalk defect or damage?

A. There are various levels and types of damage, but any crack or vertical offset of more than ¼ inch is considered a defect, according to the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Guidelines. Damaged sidewalks create unsafe conditions for pedestrians.

Q. Why should I repair my sidewalk?

A. If someone trips in front of your house, you could be sued for damages. Sidewalk defects could also create problems for children, seniors, the blind, wheelchair users, or others with special needs. All pedestrians benefit from safe sidewalks.

Q. When should I repair my sidewalks?

A. You can repair your sidewalk at any time. But you must repair your sidewalk if you are buying or selling your property, or if you are performing a renovation valued at more than $100,000.

Q. How much does the permit cost for sidewalk repair?

A. Please verify the permit fees with the City's Permit Counter. A typical Sidewalk Permit is $433 (for less than 200 square feet) and approximately $0.93 additional per square foot if greater than 200 square feet (according to Oakland’s Master Fee Schedule). There may be additional fees for driveways, curbs and gutters. These fees cover City inspection and recording costs.

Q. May a property owner repair a sidewalk damaged by an official City tree?

A. Property owners may repair such sidewalks at their own expense. The City will assist with inspection and, while a Sidewalk Permit is still required, the City will waive the cost of the permit.

Q. Doesn't Measure KK pay for sidewalk repair?

A. It does! It helps ensure that the City takes care of its sidewalks--at parks, libraries, and other City facilities, and those sidewalks damaged by official City trees. In fact, Oakland's $1M annual budget for sidewalks is entirely funded by Measure KK. But again, these funds are limited to repairing City-tree damaged sidewalks, sidewalk damage at City facilities, and facilitating private property sidewalk repairs.

Q. How do I report a sidewalk defect?

A. Report the problem by calling 311 or (510) 615-5566 or using the OAK311 app (available on Google Play or Apple Store). The City will send an inspector. If there’s a problem, a “Notice to Repair” will be issued to the responsible party.